Psalms of Honesty and Truth
God knows me inside and out. He made me for He is my Creator. He knew me before I was placed in the womb of my mother. (Ps 139). He watched over me as a grew from infant to child, from child to adult. He also knows all the people around me inside and out. The sun does not revolve around me. I revolve around the Son, the center of my universe.
David is speaking truth about his condition. He knows God will listen to his honesty. There were those who were against him, gossiped about him and generally fought hard to bring him down. David had personal sin to repent and enemies to fight, taking a toll on his health and well being.
We relate to David’s words. We have all had people in our lives for whatever reason, probably for personal temporary power, told untruths about us. It hurts. It stings like a wasp. Those who pretended to be friends to your face but spoke ill of you behind your back hurts deeply. Family members who look for ways to tear you down and tell others of your weaknesses physically hurts us from the inside out. David deals with it by going to God for help. “Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side”, he declares (Msg version).
“You know me inside and out, you hold me together, you never fail to stand me tall in your presence so I can look you in the eye.” says David. I shout a loud AMEN to that assurance!
However, David also knows that because God indeed knows us inside and out, we must daily examine our own hearts. What is the measure of our integrity…as God evaluates us? Do we fight back, gossip about the gossipers, to get even? Do we lunge a sword of bitterness toward our enemies? Are we as merciful to others as God is to us?
Psalm 41, The Message
A David Psalm
41 1-3 Dignify those who are down on their luck;
you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
God looks after us all,
makes us robust with life—
Lucky to be in the land,
we’re free from enemy worries.
Whenever we’re sick and in bed,
God becomes our nurse,
nurses us back to health.
4-7 I said, “God, be gracious!
Put me together again—
my sins have torn me to pieces.”
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These “friends” who hate me
whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
to plan misery for me.
8-9 The rumor goes out, “He’s got some dirty,
deadly disease. The doctors
have given up on him.”
Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
—he ate meals at my house all the time!—
has bitten my hand.
10 God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
I’ll show them a thing or two.
11-12 Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side—
no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
so I can look you in the eye.
13 Blessed is God, Israel’s God,
always, always, always.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
When we find ourselves in difficulty, we may use this psalm to take an inventory of our spiritual condition by asking and answering four questions. (We are getting help to understand from excerpts of commentary by Warren Wiersbe.)
1. Integrity: How Do We Treat Others (vv. 1-4)? Do we bring dignity to those who are poor? Before we can claim God’s promises, we must examine our own hearts to see if we have sincerely met the conditions the Lord has laid down.
2. Treachery: How Do Others Treat Us (vv. 5-9)? Real or imagined? David’s enemies were real. Are those who temporarily say untruths about you worth your time? Can you stay the course and let God deal with them? Can we stay clean by not slinging mud back? By the way, Jesus quoted this Psalm when Judas betrayed Him!
3. Mercy: How Does God Treat Us (vv. 10-12)? God in His mercy doesn’t give us what we do deserve, and God in His grace gives us what we don’t deserve, and He does this because of Jesus Christ His Son, who died for us on the cross.
David prayed for mercy, because he knew he had sinned (v. 4). He also affirmed his integrity (v. 12), for he had walked before the Lord in humility and submission (7:8; 18:19-25; 25:21; 78:72). When confronted with his sins, he confessed them and sought the face of the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13ff.).
More than anything else, David wanted to please God (v. 11; 18:19; 22:8; 35:27; 2 Sam. 15:26). He had confidence that the Lord would heal him, restore him to the throne, and deal with those who opposed him. Even more, he was certain that one day he would be in the presence of the Lord and serve in His holy courts in heaven forever (v. 12; 16:11; 17:15; 21:6; 101:7; 2 Sam. 7:16).
4. Glory: How Do We Treat God (v. 13)? The verse reminds us that the main thing in our lives must be the eternal praise and glory of the Lord. “Hallowed be thy name” is the first request in the Disciples’ Prayer (Matt. 6:9), and it governs all the other requests. God answers prayer, not to make His people more comfortable, but to bring glory to His name! Do we have the perspective? Do we read His Word with the desire to know God more? It’s not about us…it’s about God who save us!
Pause to ponder…
Can we honestly, in this very moment, look up and say AMEN! YES! to this prayer, this Psalm of praise, giving all glory to God for where we are on our journey?